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Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 304- Gamera Vs. Barugon

Movie: (1966) In the second outing of the series, a group of conspirators travels to a remote jungle island to retrieve what they believe is a giant opal. They’re wrong: it’s actually the egg of mythical lizard-dog creature, Barugon.

First shown: 6/22/91
Opening: Crow and Tom argue the merits and drawbacks of computer interfaces
Invention exchange: The interface war continues; Joel demonstrates his animated soda can, while the mads show off their disco cumber-bubble-bund
Host segment 1: Fast-talking Tom announces the “5000-piece fightin’ men & monster set”
Host segment 2: Crow and Tom are Midwestern monster women (?) eating at TGI Tokyo’s
Host segment 3: Enjoying a simulated day at the beach, Joel tells Tom and Crow about the big celebrities in the movie, then vapor locks
End: Joel helps Tom and Crow read more about monster movies, Joel reads a letter, Frank has gotten Dr. F a book to read at the beach
Stinger: Opal guy seems happy
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (135 votes, average: 4.12 out of 5)


• While not really a bad episode, after last week’s iconic outing this one’s a bit of a letdown. On the other hand, compared to the LAST time they riffed this, back in episode K04, it’s leaps and bounds better. The riffing is steady and funny, but there’s not a lot that’s memorable. The movie itself is strange, but reasonably watchable. And the host segments, typically, are a mixed bag.
• One nice thing about this outing is the absence of any sort of squeaky deranged kid.
• Following a repeat of this episode (some time in ’92, I think), the user interface sketch sparked an actual “Mac vs. PC” flame war on the MST3K newsgroups. Ah, simpler times. And in case you forget how long ago this was, note that when this sketch was written, the now-long-forgotten Mac OS System 7 was still in the future (though, by the time this show aired it had been released for about a month). And remember when people called PCs “clones”?
• Joel is very funny in the opening. His mannerisms and delivery are just great.
• In the opening, Tom is typing “wp51.” He’s running Word Perfect?
• At the beginning of the invention exchange, Crow calmly suggests rewriting the autoexec.bat file–a suggestion that probably sounds crazy to modern computer users. And what the heck is a “memory manager”? (A commenter explained.)
• Also, early in the invention exchange, Crow’s arm accidentally disconnects from his body and hangs from the desk. Eventually Joel grabs it and tosses it on the floor.
• Frank’s paltry bubble-making efforts are augmented by extra bubbles coming in from stage left.
• We get another look at Tom’s “rockem-sockem-robot” neck extension. Only the most obsessive bot maker felt it necessary to include this function.
• Joel mumbles that the cumber-bubble-bund looks familiar…it should, they demonstrated a similar item in season one.
• What does the chant “Charbroiled cities!” refer to?
• Callbacks: Tom mentions “Jungle Goddess” as the helicopter lands; “a thousand wonderful hours” (Rocketship XM).
• Crow and Tom give us a little preview of segment 2 in the theater as they lapse into their Midwestern middle-aged lady voices.
• We have another case here where maybe a different host segment order would have worked better: Segment 1, which is very fun and frantic, by the way, mentions Barugon’s ram tongue action–but we haven’t seen it in the movie yet.
• The desk on the SOL was removed in order to shoot the photos for segment 1 and again for segment 3.
• Note the presence, in two sketches, of the partial air filter that was used in the “cheap Halloween costumes” sketch in season two.
• Segment 2 is a bit baffling. What is with the weird masks the bots are wearing? In the ACEG, Kevin calls the faces “awfully and inexplicably weird.” So I don’t even know if THEY know why they did it. I do love the dessert descriptions. Mike probably had a lot to do with that one.
• In segment 3, Joel recalls going to a drive-in “in Buffalo.” “The Lucky Twin on Route 5.” He probably means Buffalo, Minn., not New York. But I suspect he means Route 55 (which runs right through Buffalo) and he appears to remember the name wrong. See the comments for more on this.
• There’s a funny outtake to segment 3 in the poopie reel. (Help me!)
• Joel rips Crow’s arm off again in the theater!
• Joel declares an official ban on the “By this time…” riff.
• The movie was originally titled “Dai Kaiju Keto: Gamera Tai Barugon” (“Great Monster Battle: Gamera vs. Barugon” ) ; it was released in the U.S. as “War of the Monsters.” You might also see it listed as “Gamera vs. Baragon (instead of “Barugon”) . That’s a typo stemming from confusion between Daiei Studios’ monster Barugon and rival Toho’s Baragon, which appeared in “Frankenstein Conquers the World” a year earlier. The two monsters are somewhat similar looking, but they are not the same monster.
• Cast/crew roundup: (I won’t repeat the credits for anybody who was listed in the episode guide for 302- Gamera.) Special effects guy Kazufumi Fujii also worked on “Gamera Vs. Gaos,” “Gamera Vs. Guiron,” and “Gamera Vs. Zigra.” Special effects guy Masao Yagi also worked on “Gamera Vs. Gaos.” In front of the camera, both Kojiro Hongo and Kyoko Enami were also in “Gamera Vs. Gaos.”
• Creditswatch: Additional contributing writer: Jef Maynard. Guest “Villians” (misspelled) again. Two new credits appear: “Online Editor” (this week it’s Tim Paulson); and “Audio Editor” (it’s always Tim Scott). Barb Oswald is Prop Assistant again. Disco ball courtesy of: Teener’s Theatrical Department Store.” (They moved in 2007 and may have closed.) Another new credit: “Additional Music Written and Arranged by.” This week, and most weeks, it’s Mike, but later in the season others will get it. The voice of Meryl Streep reading “The Velveteen Turtle” is not credited, but it sounds like Magic Voice, who was Alex Carr at this time.
• Fave riff: “Solipsism is its own reward.” How true that is. Honorable mention: “Hey, I listened to the diamond thing, but I’m NOT going to arouse him.”

87 Replies to “Episode guide: 304- Gamera Vs. Barugon”

  1. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    or maybe that should be “SEE a need to be mean”…to use discipline OSLT; I dunno


  2. JimmyBruce says:

    Cue the “Sandy Frank” song.


  3. AgentMom says:

    I disagree. I love all the gamera episodes EXCEPT Gamera vs. Zigra. Not so much as it’s a bad episode as my kid LOVES that one and made me watch 10 million times. So, I’m SICK of that one. :)


  4. AgentMom says:

    BTW, I think the “Charbroiled Cities” riff has to do with the Chernobl joke about how to make Chicken Kiev. Step one: Preheat City to 2,000 degrees. Step two, put chicken in city.

    It’s terrible I know, but dammit I still laugh when I think of that joke.


  5. Sean says:

    I thought Servo’s neck extension appeared mainly in Season 2. Once in #201 in the Intro, and again in the sketch where they’re playing hide-and-seek with the universe.


  6. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #48: (Where’s Frank’s spare head?)

    Frank’s head doesn’t blow up until Gunslinger. Then, in Mitchell, he refers to the head that Mike finds as his “old” (not spare) head, indicating that it didn’t blow UP, it was blown OFF.


  7. pondoscp says:

    I was having delusions of Servo wearing Frank’s spare head, which thankfully didn’t happen. You see, this is what can happen when you watch Gamera at 4am…. Frightening….


  8. Fnord says:

    In regards to the computer stuff at the front of the episode:

    wp51 was indeed the command for WordPerfect version 5.1, which was THE go-to word processing software before Windows became ubiquitous, and was replaced by Microsoft Word. Many a people spent many an hour looking at that blue screen with yellow letters, typing up their documents in the best method they could at the time.

    Rewriting the autoexec.bat was basically changing the startup file for the computer. Doing this you could influence what was loaded on the server at boot up, and put in that memory manager. A memory manager, like himem.sys, was a program which would allow you to use more memory on your computer, or use it better. Computers that came with more memory than MS-DOS could use had to have a memory driver loaded in the autoexec.bat file so that memory could be accessed.

    The one thing that does bother me about all of that is that Crow is insistent that “it’ll just take a minute” and that Tom won’t lose any data. In order for the changes to the autoexec.bat file to take effect, he’s going to have to restart the computer. I hope Tom saved!


  9. Jeff says:

    Re: Tom’s neck extension.
    I believe we also see Tom’s Rockem Sockem head in episode 203 – Jungle Goddess, when J&TB play hide and seek with the awesome and inescapable forces of the universe.


  10. This Guy says:

    Ah, yes, WordPerfect. Yes, it was a day before WYSIWYG, when changing the formatting of even the simplest documents involved opening up a view that was like today’s markup languages. And I also remember having to mess around with extended and expanded memory to get games to run on our old 386. 4 MB of RAM was the big time, back then. And it came with a 40 MB hard drive. Today, a wafer the size of my thumbnail can store 50 times more than that, and I paid about twelve bucks for it.


  11. monoceros4 says:

    “Today, a wafer the size of my thumbnail can store 50 times more than that, and I paid about twelve bucks for it….”

    And Word doesn’t run any faster than it did in 1992. That’s the crazy thing.


  12. Charles says:

    I watched it again for this thread, and I remain amazed at how different it is from the other Gamera entries. It’s remarkably grim, where the triumph at the end over Barugon doesn’t mean that the characters can forget about all the damage he did. It was violent. The fight scenes, including one where the crippled man and his wife are killed, (killed!) were very brutal and unstylistic for the genre. And there was actual characterization! And a plot! And they seemed to do what they could in making this absurdly implausible story as plausible as possible. I couldn’t believe that they let the pilot reflect on how his greed had brought on all the destruction, and dwell a bit on that pathos, because usually there’s no reflection at all in these movies, much less regret and remorse. I’m almost sad that the special effects were so goofy and cheap, because the attempt they made with this movie deserved better. They deserved better than stitched gray rubber gloves stretched over chicken wire for their monster.

    It’s just amazing to think about the thought that went into this one compared to Gamera Vs Guiron, for example, where it was obvious that no one cared that it didn’t make any sense or that the characters were ridiculous.

    I give it five stars for that reason, even though I thought it was less amusing than most episodes. It genuinely tried to have weight, meaning and characterization. And still, its shortcomings and just random goofiness still made it fun.


  13. JeremyR says:

    I couldn’t stand the other Gamera movies, but I forced myself to watch this and was pleasantly surprised. No obnoxious children! The movie even made sense, despite Sandy Frank touching it. It was more like a noir movie than kaiju one, though. The female lead was also drop dead gorgeous, sort of like a Japanese Audrey Hepburn.


  14. MPSh says:

    I resisted going to Microsoft Word for the longest time. I like WordPerfect much better….


  15. cornbred says:

    I gotta agree with JeremyR, the lead actress in this one was stunning, and I assume still is. There aren’t too many of the MST3K movies where I can say that about the actresses (I’ll leave the males for others to judge). Even if traditionally pretty, the bad acting and general sleaze of the films puts an ugliness over most of them, sometimes undeserved. That is not true at all for this actress. The blood sucking does nothing to diminish my impression of her character either :)

    As for the film I don’t remember any really good laughs. It is a better film than the other Gameras so just not as many chances for wisecracking I guess. I love these episodes anyway, just because I love the giant Japanese monster genre. I miss the obnoxious children in this one though, as strange as that statement may seem. They offer so many chances for ridicule.


  16. Britt Lower says:

    I ponder if it is gonna be true? Is The Trump going to go for pres? He’d gather a bunch of votes!


  17. Joseph Klemm says:

    I pretty much agree with #8 that this was the weakest of the Gamera movies (that I’ve seen so far), with the biggest problem being that the film is NOT a REAL Gamera movie IMO. To me, it feels as if Gamera wasn’t even supposed to be in this film and was tacked on during production in order to attract people who loved the original film.


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  19. NoOneOfConsequence says:

    Did anyone else notice that some of the Robot Roll Call got muted on the new Shout Factory DVD of this? Specifically for Cambot we get “Pan…” and for Tom we get “What a c…”.

    What the heck? Can someone check one of their old copies to see if it was originally aired this way (i.e. it’s on the master tape), or if this is an error in the Shout Factory mastering?

    (Presuming this isn’t somehow just my copy.)

    Makes me wonder if I’m missing any other audio on this (or other) disks.


  20. PondosCP says:

    @69: I did notice that, and I have noticed it on various old fan copies of episodes. Not sure what’s up with the sound drop outs, but it would appear they’ve always been there. Which is odd, because on some episodes, it’s not muted.


  21. NoOneOfConsequence says:

    PondosCP, thanks for the (quick!) confirmation. Thought I was going crazy.

    I’ve never noticed it in other episodes… at least not that I remember. I wonder what caused it. You would think they would have one master copy of the intro that they use for everything, wouldn’t you?


  22. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Having seen all of the Gamera movies a couple of times now, I will say that this one is the best of the five in terms of being watchable as a standalone movie. Not the funniest riffing in the set, but I just like watching the film. Not having an annoying child really helps too.


  23. Cheapskate Crow says:

    After the opening PC vs Mac sketch, this one is kind of a snoozer to me. It was great seeing nerd topics debated on TV back in the day before computers and the internet had totally taken over the world.


  24. Sitting Duck says:

    Gamera vs. Barugon passes the Bechdel Test in a squeaker. The key moment comes when one of the female enlisted asks about the diamond and Karen replies.

    Anyone else think the Cumber-Bubble-Bund is kind of wrong?

    Barugon’s rainbow attack has been the subject of much understandable derision. But a while back, I watched Baccano (an anime series about immortal gangsters in Depression-era New York City which is as awesome as that makes it sound), which has led me to believe that they have a more pessimistic view of rainbows in Japan. The scene in question involves a little girl admiring a rainbow, and her guardian chooses to puncture her innocence with the following statement:

    “From the time we are but children, we see rainbows as beautiful things. Without a doubt in our heads, upon sight, they are harmonious to our spirit. I’ve always wondered why that was. Of course, people who do not understand science or the refraction of light might see this anomaly in the sky as the harbinger of a natural disaster, thinking that something unwelcome might be coming down from that rainbow. Perhaps vegetation might be ablaze at the foot of the rainbow, bringing destruction. At any rate, we still see these seven-colored pieces of information with a sense of faerie tale magic to them.”

    Really makes you think, don’t it?

    touches no one’s life, then leaves #13: Considering how often Japanese movie monsters destroy buildings, EATING buildings doesn’t seem like too big a stretch. See also the book “You’ll Never Eat This Town for Lunch Again” from another episode.

    Except it is from this episode in the final host segment.

    Favorite riffs

    Gamera craves the creamy taste of flames.

    “Gamera loves flames.”
    But they go straight to his hips.

    He died as he lived. Goofy.

    “But don’t think we saved you out of kindness.”
    We simply like our meat fresh.

    “What are they doing?”
    It’s a long drum solo. It’s not your place to ask.

    How about a little tongue, Scarecrow?

    “The monster can destroy everything with its tongue.”
    You try saying that without laughing.

    “Karen, what’s wrong? Are you ill?”
    I’m carrying Barugon’s child.

    Hey, I was in Austria during the whole thing. Honest.

    “Will that do us any good?”
    No, but it will pad out the film a little bit.


  25. schippers says:

    I think Gamera wrote post #68.


  26. Ricezilla says:

    As a fan of this (un-MSTified) film since I was a kid, this episode bugs me because they have the gall to complain about Gamera not being in the movie when THEY THEMSELVES CUT OUT HIS BEST FIGHT SCENE! :reallyangry:


  27. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Most definitely a good, but not great episode. That said, it and all the Gamera movies are among my more frequently watched episodes, since I’m a big kaiju fan. Loved the user wars & the monster playset segments. It really does feel like this wasn’t originally planned as a Gamera movie, and then they just shoehorned him in.

    As stated above, it’s really hard to take them complaining about Gamera not being in the movie much when they cut the entire first fight scene. I guess they couldn’t come up with enough jokes to carry the mostly dialogue-free stretch? Admittedly, even in the uncut version, Gamera probably has less screen time in this than any other Gamera movie.

    Amigas were fantastic computers back in the day! I never had one myself, but my friend did, and I liked it a lot. I had an IBM (what PCs were originally called, or cloned from). I really, really miss DOS. It was so simple, yet so versatile. Windows & Macs just tries to make it easier for people who have no idea what their doing to do things without actually learning anything.
    Did Crow predict clippy? But instead of a clown, it’s a paper clip?

    @#4 – Smoothee of Great Power:
    I do have to wonder how many takes it took for people to say the lines among the, “Barugon is readying his ultimate weapon: the rainbow!” with a straight face.

    No more than “We’re powerless against the monsters tongue!”

    @#6 – Spalanzani:
    In regards to the Z-Plan, I’m pretty sure Gamera couldn’t fly through space until such time as Daiei studios needed to get him back to Earth for a new movie.


  28. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    77: @#4 – Smoothee of Great Power:
    I do have to wonder how many takes it took for people to say the lines among the, “Barugon is readying his ultimate weapon: the rainbow!” with a straight face.
    >>>No more than “We’re powerless against the monsters tongue!”

    Well, remember, the Japanese actors didn’t say either of those lines; the dubbers did, and we don’t see their faces. ;-)

    Really, for all we know, the dubbers just made those lines up and the gist of what the Japanese actors are saying is something else entirely.


  29. thequietman says:

    After the original Gamera and the magic that is Pod People, this one was definitely a comedown. The saving grace was the “Tokyo playset” sketch. That’s really the only thing I remembered from the time I first saw this episode after buying the boxset to today. One of the best lines isn’t even a riff, but from the host segments:

    Crow: Uh Joel, when you were at the drive-in, did you spend a lot of time in the trunk?


  30. pondoscp says:

    I enjoy this episode the more I see it. It’s a nice change of pace from the other four featured Gamera flicks. You would think, since the official Shout! Factory release, that this thread would be easily over 100 posts. By the way, the Gamera box set is going out of print. It seems like just yesterday that it was announced for release.


  31. Bruce Boxliker says:

    I just watched my blu-ray of this movie, and I’ll share some thoughts.
    First off, Gamera vs Barugon is actually a VERY well made movie. The full uncut version makes an incredible difference. Also, the blu-ray looks fantastic, though there is an occasional slight delay on the subtitle timing.
    I’d also like to say that whoever was in the Barugon suit did an exceptional job. It’s not easy for a 2-legged human to play a 4-legged monster, but he did it marvelously. Does anyone know the actor’s name? It’s not listed on IMDB.
    The MST3k version had A LOT cut out. Mostly the 2 fight scenes between Gamera & Barugon, but a lot of little things here & there (including several explanations of why some things are happening).
    I don’t remember hearing it in the dub, but the island they go to is New Guinea.
    On their trip to the cave, Onedera (the super-greedy bad guy) falls in quicksand, and the others save him (unfortunately for them).
    Obviously they cut the entirety of the first fight scene, but they also cut quite a bit of the second (about half?). The first fight scene Gamera is puking fire at Barugon, while Barugon runs behind buildings to get enough distance to use his tongue. It’s actually a pretty well-done scene. Even after being frozen, Gamera gets one could punch (puncture?) in on the side of Barugon’s head, making him bleed a lot of purple blood.

    And here’s some things I found interesting/humorous:

    Apparently the island native’s ancestors were master diamond cutters? I’m pretty sure diamonds don’t come out of the ground looking like that.

    I believe the guy blaming Karen for the diamond plan failing was the Governor of Osaka. That explains why he’s trying to make her a scapegoat – he’s a politician. On the other side, the Self Defense Force brass are downright understanding and helpful.

    Is Barugon spraying frost everywhere? Isn’t frost frozen water? Or does water not bother him in solid form? Does Barugon get thirsty?

    The doctor aboard a cruddy old ship is also an expert on physics and lasers?

    I always am curious when a dub uses the term ‘Death Ray’. Are they just translating laser poorly (similar to ‘Electronic Brain’ for computers)? Well, in this the Japanese term is ‘Satsujin Kousen’, which literally translates to ‘Murderer Beam’, so I guess Death Ray works.


  32. pondoscp says:

    OMG, please Sampo, please tell me you’re not still watching fan copies of released episodes. If this is truly the case, then we should start a fund drive to get Sampo official copies. Makes me sad to think he’s still watching Barugon, etc. off a VHS dub. What made me think this was the title screen shot, with it’s CC bug intact.


  33. Dan in WI says:

    OMG, please Sampo, please tell me you’re not still watching fan copies of released episodes. If this is truly the case, then we should start a fund drive to get Sampo official copies. Makes me sad to think he’s still watching Barugon, etc. off a VHS dub. What made me think this was the title screen shot, with it’s CC bug intact.

    The Shout! release did not exist at the time Sampo would have done that screen shot. What’s the point of updating it when all that would do is take the bug?


  34. pondoscp says:

    @83 I’m just sad to think Sampo’s watching old, bad copies of the show instead of the official releases.


  35. Dan in WI says:

    @83 I’m just sad to think Sampo’s watching old, bad copies of the show instead of the official releases.

    He’s probably not watching old copies. I’d bet he just didn’t redo the screen capture when the official release did become available after the fact.


  36. Satoris says:

    To all those that think this one doesn’t measure up to the other Gamera experiments I say: BITE ME! This movie isn’t half bad. And at least it seems to be aimed at adults. No annoying, snivelling little brats in this one. The riffing is no worse than in the other Gamera movies. Still, I would rank the Gamera movies this way:

    1.Gamera- The original and best.
    2.Gamera vs. Barugon- the most mature Gamera movie.
    3.Gamera vs. Zigra- Cheesy, but well riffed.
    4.Gamera vs. Gaos- dull but watchable.
    5.Gamera vs. Guiron- agonizingly stupid, the only funny part about this one is Cornjob. Even the riffing couldn’t save it.


  37. mnenoch says:

    I absolutely love the interface wars sketch in the opening part. I fondly remember the early 90’s and the heated discussions of clones vs Mac’s. The irony is that the same war is still going on these days just with smart phones and tablets and such. The more things change the more they stay the same. Also that sketch was another early wave I downloaded long before I ever saw the opening.

    As for the movie this is a darker tone Gamera than the rest that would show up after that. The main bad guy is pretty much a dickweed the whole show. And as the ending sketch notes there isn’t much Gamera in this film and especially this cut of the film.

    Several Apocalypse Now references in this movie. Overall pretty good riffing by the guys. I really like the beach feel in segment three having the bots and Joel talking. Joel is has taken the “father” figure in full by now.


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